Thursday, September 9, 2010

The 1886 World Series: In The Pool Rooms

The interest in the third game of the Chicago-Browns series, played yesterday, was more intense than on either of the two preceding days. Probably the damp, rainy weather here, and the general idea that the game would be off, had something to do with this, as it was a sharp reaction when a Chicago bulletin was put up announcing the weather clear and pleasant. The crowds about that time became very large, the throng about the Globe-Democrat not only taking possession of the street and sidewalk, but also of all the available space in the counting-room, hanging around there as if each tick, each dot and dash of the telegraph instrument was plain English to them. When the Browns' battery was posted as Caruthers and Bushong there was a very marked disapproval on the part of a great many, as it was not believed that Caruthers was strong enough to pitch a second game after his work of Tuesday. The frequency with which he was hit, and with such effect, sustained the judgment of these objectors, and long before the game was played out there was an almost unanimous expression of the opinion that Hudson, who has won several hard victories from clubs to whom the Browns had on preceding days lost with Caruthers and Foutz, should have been put in the box, saving Caruthers for to-day. This talk was also accompanied by a great deal about hippodroming and sell-outs, and great surprise was expressed that such a pitcher as McCormick should have been pounded as he was on Tuesday, but while there was unbounded rumor and numberless assertions made by those on the losing side to this effect, none could point to any absolute indications of the fact. One of the strongest arguments against it was the absence of any large amount of money-seeking takers on either side. The arguments used to back up the sell-out theory was the scores of 6 to 0, 12 to 0 and 11 to 4, and the fact that Chicago won both the first and third games and was not able either to make a run or hold the Browns down in the second. Had the Browns won either the first or third game the talk would have been very little, but even as it is the sell-out was left in as delightful uncertainty as is the result of the games yet to be played.

But while there was all this dishonorable rumor there was actual interest. The Merchant's Exchange crowd was wild, and, as a matter of course, Donovan's down-town room showed the result. It was not an uncommon sight to see business men, and some of the largest ones in the vicinity of Third street, too, rush breathlessly into the pool-room with check, bank, cash and account books in their hands, evidently not caring to leave them on their desks or to take time to put them away. The room was so crowded that it became necessary for Officer Fox, on duty at the Chamber of Commerce, to exclude boys, or to allow them to push in just long enough to catch a glimpse of the blackboard. The crowd was also as nearly evenly divided as it could have been, few being imbued with local pride and the Chicagos having many friends. The betting was in about the same amount as on the two previous days, though the amount telegraphed here from Chicago was small. At the opening the Browns had the call at $11 to $10 and a great deal of money was put up at this and even. When the Chicagos made their two runs in the first and the Browns were credited with a goose egg, the betting changed slightly, the Chicagos being favorites at $10 to $8, a great deal of hedging being done. The Browns' single run in the second held them in place, but when the Chicagos made one each in the fourth and fifth they dropped badly, and when the Chicagos scored two in their half of the sixth, there were numerous offers of $100 to $25 in their favor. When the Browns closed that inning with two runs it enabled some more hedging at $100 to $50, but when in the next inning the Chicagos added three runs it was all one way and the betting on the game practically ended, and was confined to the innings and to to-day's game. It was the same way at Wiseman's again, though the crowd was of such a different character. Considerable money was then put up even on to-day's game and a number of bets made on the series at $100 to $80 in favor of the Chicagos, the first made where odd were given. There were also a number of bets made even that the Browns will win two out of the three games played here, and a number to the same effect, but worded that seven games will be required to decide the contest. At night it was discovered that the base ball patrons were either meditating or joining in the excitement of the turf exchanges, where there were good crowds. At Wiseman's, however, there was some betting, $30 to $24 being posted that the Chicagos will win the series. The Browns again had the call on to-day's game at $10 to $8...

As showing the enthusiasm of business men over Tuesday's game, the Mermod-Jaccard Jewelry Company yesterday telegraphed congratulations to Mr. Von der Ahe, and said they would present each member and the manager of the Browns with a solid gold monogram scarf pin, if they win the championship, which, they added, "We know they will." On 'Change a purse was raised to buy a present for Bushong, to be presented to-day.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 21, 1886

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